tv BBC World News PBS December 21, 2011 6:00pm-6:30pm PST
what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> hello and welcome to the bbc. i am in singapore. >> and i am in london. 200 dead in today's in syria. the u.s. says president assad must leave power. chinese authorities appear to make concessions in order to end a standoff with protesting villagers. the england football captain john kerry is to face criminal charges after racially abusing an opponent. looking for a big payout, spain gets a new government that awaits the result of the world's biggest lottery. it is 10:00 in singapore. >> it is 2:00 a.m. in london. broadcasting to viewers on pbs in america and around the world, this is "newsday."
>> the united states has renewed its course for the syrian president to leave power. sources in the syrian opposition groups are claiming the number of people who have died is much higher than estimates by the united nations. more than 6000 civilians have been killed since the uprising began in march. >> the violence is obviously getting worse. these pictures are being sent in by ordinary people. even if they cannot all be verified for -- even if they cannot all be verified. 200 people have died since monday. these pictures are thought to be from italy, in the northwest, where the organization says there has been an organized massacre.
they have switched their anger to the arab league. the issue one ultimatum after another. people on the ground believe the rising violence is because the government wants to stamp out the opposition before the arab league observers get there. i have been speaking to a political activist where the violence has been particularly bad. >> i think that they are sending a message to the people that if you do not stop the protests, we will kill you. we do not care about the arab league or the international community. >> yesterday, in the egyptian capital of cairo, syria gave its final agreement to let the arab league observer within after the lead had threatened to take it to the united nations. the situation is clearly deteriorating.
tonight, the bbc has been given new figures showing that the deaths in syria are way above the un estimates of 5000. according to the opposition group, the figure is now 6200. of those, 617 people have been tortured to death. that includes 39 children. children have become real targets. these pictures, of loaded today, showed children injured in the fighting. things are inching towards open civil war. these soldiers have defected to the opposition. there captain wants the outside world to intervene. >> we are demanding a no-fly zone. if we get this, we will be able to liberate our country, god willing. >> it is no longer just the syrian army firing on civilians. soldiers are fighting soldiers.
>> ambassador richard emerson -- referred -- richard murphy is the former secretary of state for middle eastern affairs. he is on our webcam in new york for us. wednesday, the u.s. said president assad showed leave power. he lacks credibility and does not deserve to rule. what impact will those words have in damascus? >> they are used by damascus as a sign that the troubles they are having are inspired by foreigners. over their history, as an independent state, they have been subjected to foreign intervention. since the difficulty started eight months ago in syria, there has been a series of statements about our difficulties are
caused by foreign thugs, hired assassins, etc. what pressure does the new statements from washington have? i do not think very much. not as much as the actions of the arab league. if the arab league decides to take the case to the security council, that will really be a more important, direct pressure on syria than statements out of the white house. >> these are legal observers who will arrive in syria on thursday. are they going to make much difference? >> it depends on what freedom of movement they are granted by the syrians. the condition that they are going in is a will be able to go wherever they want to and the syrians will accept military sites. we will see. this was only one element of the arab league proposal and it took seven weeks to get to this point. the syrians are very experienced
at playing for time and that is what we are still seeing. >> is their credibility in the belief that president assad is a puppet for more hardliners in syria? >> i am not sure that it matters at this point. he has spoken for syria, he has been president of syria since the death of his father in 2000. there were other family members, active, who are known to be hardliners. he is responsible. he gave that rather strange interview to barbara walters of american television last week saying that he did not command the army, etc. that just does not wash in today's world. >> ambassador murphy, we appreciate your time. thank you for joining us from new york. england and the chelsea football capt. is facing a charge of
racially abusing another player. he will appear in court in february. the prosecution says there is sufficient evidence for a case against terry and it is in the public interest to prosecute him. kerrey denies the allegations and says he will fight. >> john kerry, one of the most prominent footballers in the country, fiercely proud of his status as england and chelsea capt.. all of that hinges to what he said to ferdinand in october. today, the cbs said they will charge him with a public offense. terry denied the claim, saying he had never launched a racist remark at anyone. he said he would fight tooth and nail to prove his innocence. the chelsea manager said he would stand by his captain.
>> we know is values and personality. to me, they are never in doubt. >> with a busy christmas coming up, john kerry is trying to focus on his role as chelsea capt.. the last few months have been dominated by these allegations of racism, claims which could have big implications for england's 2012 campaign. the england manager stripped him of the capt. sea before, following allegations of a sexual affair with a former girlfriend of a teammate. these allegations are more serious. one teammate says he can handle it. >> he has been there before in different matters not related to this one. he had to concentrate on matters on the field. he tends to do that remarkably well in trying circumstances. >> others say the faa should
take tough action against him now. >> i think they have to consider the morality and ethics of someone leading the country while he has these allegations hanging over him. >> the john kerry case raises issues much more significant than his career or england's chances next summer. test the english football attitude towards racism. >> in australia, a teenager has been sentenced for 13 years in prison for killing an indian student in mel bourne last year. the killing came amid a string of attacks on indian students in melbourne. widespread outrage in india. the keene will serve a minimum of eight years. more violence in china. >> that is right. it happened as police moved in
to break up a potent -- break up a post test -- break up a protest. china will give in to demands of protesters along the coast. >> increasing evidence of the middle class taking on the authorities. this amateur video cannot be independently verified, but it appears to show protesters blocking the highway to demand a coal-fired power station. protesters were not satisfied with the statement from officials on tuesday night that the power plant plans would be suspended. on the second day of the demonstration, riot police moved in to disperse the crowd. the clashes came around 115 kilometers northeast of wu-kan. defiant villagers secured big
concessions after a weeklong standoff with the authorities. they agreed to free three villagers and detained over an earlier protest and released the body of a fourth, who died in police custody. they also managed to send a government team to investigate the villagers grievances. >> now it is having a platform on which to communicate with the government's work department. it is already a kind of victory. >> while protests in china are frequent, there are estimated to be around 90,000 every year, concessions are a rare example of the government backing down to mobilize residents. a sign of the eagerness among chinese leaders to avoid local protests in -- evolving into a broader, more dangerous challenge to power. >> it has been less than a week
since the last u.s. troops left iraq. already the country faces a political crisis. a warrant is out for the arrest of the vice president. the prime minister is from the sheer majority and the vice president is from the sunii minority. those refusing to hand him over are kurds, a separate ethnic group. >> calm on the surface in baghdad today, but the country is under crisis. a power-sharing deal is under threat. a standoff between shiite and sunni politicians could spell out into the street. dramatic allegations against the country's vice-president. he denies that he put out a hit
on government officials and is in the semi-autonomous region of kurdistan. the prime minister has called on kurdish leaders to hand them over. >> there is only one way out of this. it is through the judicial system and nothing else. i shimmied should stand trial. he will be found innocent or indicted. there is no other way. >> he has angrily rebutted the charges against him, saying they were fabricated, politically motivated, that he did not trust the justice system under a government led by maliki. >> a demand that the elementary investigation be held here in kurdistan and be observed by independent parties. for my part, i will be ready to appear before a court. >> sunnis are accusing maliki of
monopolizing power. they have suspended their position in parliament. meanwhile, the center of power in baghdad, sunni provinces are pushing for autonomy from eight shiite led government. it has only been three days since the last u.s. troops left after almost nine years. the americans has promoted the political inclusion of the sunni minority, knowing it is dangerous to marginalize them. u.s. officials have expressed concern, calling on all sides to solve differences peacefully. in a country that seems -- that has seen so much bloodshed, the stakes are very high. >> live from singapore and london. still to come on the program, a
new team in charge in spain. can it turned around the country's debt and stagnant economy? hundreds of european banks have had to borrow money from the european central bank in its first ever offer of on limited three-year loans. the take up for this offer was far higher than anticipated. we have the report. >> eurozone banks, like all banks, borrow money, the money comes in, and they land, it goes out. in recent weeks, a crisis has made it much harder for these banks to get the money in, both dollars and euros, which has created a risk of a credit crunch with them on able to provide credit to model homes and businesses. the european central bank today provided 489 billion euros of the emergency, three-year loans to the european banks. at the heart of the eurozone
crisis is that a number of eurozone government's, portugal, spain, italy, greece in particular, have far too much. they borrowed some money from banks and if the government proved unable to repay, there would be lethal losses for the banks. investors are reluctant to lend to their over indented government and weak banks. is everything now fixed? >> is not a solution to the crisis. the real causes of the crisis, the insolvency of sovereign states and the economic austerity through what is now a depression zone in europe, these things are wrong to continue to plague the euro system. what the ecb money is going to do is relieve a lot of the pressure on banks for a period of time. >> the question is whether it is possible to gather the amount of financial resources necessary to support the system.
>> eurozone governments still have to take tough actions to prevent a banking collapse bring its grim head again. >> i am in singapore. >> and i am in london. these are the headlines. the u.s. has called for the syrian president to leave power, saying he does not deserve to rule and lacks credibility. authorities in southern china are reported to have made concessions to end protests that saw communist officials driven out of one village. more on our report from china. residents locked in a standoff with the government over land. protests have been simmering since september and escalated after the death of a village negotiator in police custody.
for more now, let's go live to beijing. we are joined by martin. what concessions were made? >> the villagers had asked that the local authorities, the provincial authorities stepped in and resolve this dispute, which centered on land. the villagers said that the local authorities had confiscated their land and sold it to developers. the villagers were asking for that land to be returned. they also wanted an investigation into the death of a village protester. he was representing the village on behalf of the village with the authorities. he died in police custody last week. many villagers believe he was beaten to death. they say they will investigate that. there were also pushing for the release of four men who had been snatched from the village by the local authorities. according to this meeting, he
was held between villagers and the provincial officials. all of those demands will be met in the next couple of days. >> indeed, the villagers have stood their ground. how much of a loss of face is this for chinese authorities? that they gave in to the villagers demands? we would like to apologize. we lost him on the line from beijing. moving on to our other story in the philippines. there is an urgent need for fresh water and medicine in the southern part of the country as authorities struggled to deal with the aftermath of the devastating flooding. more than 1000 people have died and local officials say they expect that number to rise further in the coming days. a huge relief operation is underway but there are concerns that disease could begin
spreading into shelters were survivors are now leaving -- are now living. i have been speaking to a member of the international red cross as he describes conditions. >> conditions remain quite serious for a lot of people living in the shelters. it is very cramped, very limited access to clean water and sanitation. also, the people who have opted to stay in the communities where the houses were, the situation for them is particularly grim. they are not receiving as much assistance as they need. >> what would you like to see in terms of aid distribution in the cities?
>> we would like to see food and non-food. since the storm passed, we located stock -- we allocated stock to get the operation up and running. about $2.6 million will allow us to continue to support people with food and clean water. also, to help people on the long and difficult road to recovery, to help people rebuild their homes. we are looking at where people are going to move to and how they can be safe from the rest of this happening again. >> that was matthew cochrane from the international red cross joining us earlier. in other news, facebook has agreed to improve privacy
arrangements for millions of its users after an audit of the company's operations in ireland. the irish and data protection commission says the social networking site should be more transparent with users about how their personal information is stored and used for advertising. facebook is responsible for the day of all users outside of the u.s. and canada. millions of lives are still in danger after drought in africa. between 60,000-100,000 people died between april and august. over half of them were children under 5. the u.s. has reacted angrily to the decision to make all airlines flying in and out of europe play a carbon tax. they say it violates an international aviation treaty. it is intended to make airlines accountable for their carbon
emissions. there is a new team in charge in spain. can a turnaround the economy? >> that is the hope of the prime minister. he has announced the cabinet team he hopes will pull spain out of its economic problems. some of his choices have been controversial. in particular, the crucial role of the economy minister. that went to a former executive from the bankrupt investment firm lehman brothers. >> every christmas, lottery fever strikes in spain. the annual festival lottery, known as the fat one, is a longstanding tradition with some 400,000 euros to be scooped up by the lucky winner. this year, there is added incentive for people to have a little. with spain's economy in deep trouble, the new prime minister
has been officially sworn in. in last month's election, his popular party swept to its biggest ever victory on a promise to lift the country out of its economic mire. the chat -- the task is daunting. the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, a massive public debt, and a bleak forecast after the housing bubble burst a few years ago. he announced his cabinet. all eyes were on his choice of the economy minister. it was luis degindos, a former executives of the -- a former executive of lehman brothers. the former lehman brothers executive was not the sort of change that these people were calling for when they came out in tens of thousands this summer to protest against the previous
socialist administration's management of the economy. spain has already made severe cuts to its public spending and he announced further 16 billion euros worth. spain is considered too big to bail out by investors. these people are hoping for a little luck is christmas. >> we have got one of those stories for you. this is a little polar bear cub born one month ago in the scandinavian wildlife park in denmark. after two days, he was taken away from his mother. his mother was not producing enough milk. three people around the clock have been taking care of this little polar bear cub. in a few months, he should be introduced to other polar bears and he should be able to start eating solid foods like meat and fish. he seems pretty happy.